Combining Scents










Combining scents is accomplished by using the oil’s scent characteristic. Essential oils are classified by their “notes” or scent characteristics. They are classified as either top note, middle note or base note.


Candles in the Town Church, Marie-Galante Island, Guadaloupe, Caribbean
Candles in the Town Church, Marie-Galante Island, Guadaloupe, Caribbean

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Bibikow, Walter
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Top Notes

• Normally evaporate very fast
• Have anti-viral properties
• Tend to be light, fresh and uplifting in nature
• Are usually inexpensive
• Highly volatile
• Fast acting
• Give the first impression of the blend
• Are not very long lasting


Middle Notes

• The bulk of essential oils are considered this classification
• Normally give body to the blend
• Have a balancing effect
• The aroma is not always immediately evident – it may take a couple of minutes to establish their scent
• Are normally warm and soft fragrances


Base Notes

• Are normally very heavy
• Their fragrance is very solid
• It will be present for a long time
• Slows down the evaporation of the other oils
• Fragrances are normally intense and heady
• Normally rich and relaxing in nature
• Typically the most expensive of all the oils


Oils can have more than one note because they have a complex chemical composition. Examples include - jasmine, ylang ylang, rose, osmanthus, tuberose, champaca flowers, and neroli.





Mortar and Pestle with Thai Basil
Mortar and Pestle with Thai Basil

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Medilek, Peter
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A good fragrance blend should harmoniously balance all three of these scent characteristics. Oil notes are subjective. You may disagree with someone else on the classification of an oil. Other classifications that can be used in making a blend are enhancers, equalizers, modifiers and fixatives.


mortar and pestle

Blend Enhancers

• Bergamot
• Cedarwood
• Champaca flowers
• Clary sage
• Geranium
• Jasmine
• Lavender
• Lemon
• Lime
• Myrrh
• Neroli
• Osmanthus
• Palmarosa
• Rose
• Sandalwood
• Spruce
• Ylang Ylang

Blend Equalizers

• Champaca leaves
• Fir
• Marjoram
• Orange
• Petitgrain
• Pine
• Rosewood
• Tangerine

Blend Modifiers

• Blue chamomile
• Clove
• Cinnamom
• Cistus
• Patchouli
• Peppermint
• Thyme

Blend Fixatives

• Cistus
• Myrrh
• Patchouli
• Spikenard
• Vetiver



Top Notes - Middle Notes - Base Notes and Fixatives


Top Notes Middle Notes Base Notes and Fixatives
Angelica Root (to middle)
Basil
Bergamot
Bergamot Mint
Bitter Orange
West Indies Bay (to middle)
Cajeput
Cinnamon (to middle)
Citronella
Clove
Eucalyptus
Grapefruit
Lemon
Lemon Eucalyptus
Limon
Lime
Lemongrass
Mandarin (to middle)
May Chang
Neroli (to middle)
Peppermint
Petitgrain
Sweet Orange
Thuja
Thyme
Allspice (to top)
Anise Seed
Bay Laurel
Black Pepper (to top)
Carrot Seed
Catnip
Chamomile
Cardamom
Coriander
Caraway (to top)
Champaca Leaves
Cilantro
Clary Sage
Clove
Coriander Seed
Cornmint
Davana
Dill Seed
Douglas Fir
Elimi
Fennel
Geranium
Ginger
Hyssop
Absolute Jasmine
Juniper Berry
Lavender
Lemon Balm
Lovage Leaf
Manuka
Sweet Marjoram
Myrtle (to base)
Niaouli
Nutmeg
Oregano
Palmarosa
Parsley Seed
Pennyroyal
Petitgrain
Ravensara
Absolute Rose
Bulgarian Rose
Rosemary
Rosewood
Palmarosa
Pine
Common Sage
Winter Savory
Spearmint
Spike Lavender
St.John's Wort
Sweet Marjoram
Tagetes
Tangerine
Tarragon
Thyme
Absolute Tuberose (to base
White Camphor
Wild Marjoram
Blue Yarrow
Green Yarrow
Amyris
Balsam Peru
Benzoin
Cistus (fixative)
Clary sage
Cedarwood Atlas
Virginia Cedarwood
Celery Seed
Cistus
Copaiba Balsam
Cypress
Elemi
Frankincense
Galbanum
Helichrysum
Myrrh (fixative)
Oakmoss Resin
Peru Balsam
Patchouli (fixative)
Rosewood
Sandalwood
Spikenard (fixative)
Tumeric Resin
Valerian
Vanilla
Vetiver
Ylang Ylang


Hand Lighting Candles at Taoist Ceremony, Singapore, Singapore
Hand Lighting Candles at Taoist Ceremony, Singapore, Singapore

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Coyne, Michael
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Combining scents is accomplished by using blend equalizers, modifiers, enhancers, and fixatives.....



Equalizers

What is a blend equalizer?
They are oils that help to eliminate sharp edges. They help your blend of oils to flow in harmony, to fill in gaps, and manage the intensity of the most active oils in your blend. Most blend equalizers work better with certain types of blends: in other words in the context of the blend.
Citruses such as orange or tangerine work best with -
• Other citruses – bergamot, neroli, or petitgrain
• Spices – cinnamon, clove or nutmeg
• Floral – geranium, jasmine, rose, or ylang ylang
Fir and pine work well with –
• Coniferae
• Myrtaceae
Universal equalizers include –
• Champaca flowers
• Rosewood
• Wild Spanish marjoram


Modifiers

What is a blend modifiers?
They are the oils with the most intense fragrance. They are responsible for the sharp edges, or deep foundation or heart of your blend. They give your blend its personality. However, because they are so intense they contribute to a small percent of your blend often in as little as one percent. So adding more may ruin it. If your blend is dull and unexciting you could try adding a drop more of the modifier. It may take it over the top though and destroy it. Use these oils sparingly. Never more than 2 or 3 percent.


Enhancers

What is a blend enhancer?
They are oils which have a pleasing fragrance by themselves. You can give your blend a personal touch by using an enhancer. Use them in rational amounts or they will become overpowering. The total amount of enhancers in your blend may be up to fifty percent of the blend, but each individual enhancer should be around fifteen percent.

Oils that could be considered an enhancer and work well for inhalation blends in diffusers, steam room and sauna include –
• Cajeput
• Eucalyptus
• Niaouli
• Rosemary


Fixatives

What is a fixative?
They are oils that draw the blend into the skin and give the blend roots and permanence. They are needed for a long-lasting effect. They are intense, deep and emotional. The first contact with a fixative oil may be unpleasant, as with civet, musk, or patchouli, or odd as with cistus or vetiver. However, every respectable perfume needs them. They should account for about five percent of your blend to avoid having them overpower.


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Incense, 1917
Khnopff, Fernand
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